After raising over 200,000 kg of food in the past 3 years through his annual Five Hole for Food tour, Sport for Food founder and current Venture Intern, Richard Loat, is now looking to bring his winning formula for sport and philanthropy to the United Kingdom.
On September 15, 2013, Footy for Food (FFF) launched its inaugural football-for-food game at the Warren Street Station Football Cage. Channeling Britain’s love for football (soccer for us North Americans), and still riding high on the energy of the 2012 London Olympics, Footy for Food hosted its first game in support of local Trussell Trust foodbanks.
Three years ago, Loat had a dream to use hockey as a vehicle for social change in Canada. In 2010, he created Five Hole for Food and embarked on a cross Canada tour that saw him set up ball hockey rinks in major Canadian cities where he would invite the public to come out and play in exchange for food donations.
Today, Loat’s vision has expanded across Canada, the United States, and now the United Kingdom with events in major metropolitans such as New York, Toronto and London. Loat’s infectious enthusiasm has grown a volunteer driven team that is raising food for foodbanks while also demonstrating that a generation hungry for change is driving the future of philanthropy.
“In the UK, people inherit the teams they’re fans of from their parents, and their parents’ parents. Last year we saw how the Olympics took this country by storm! It’s not about the crest on your chest, it is about coming together with a common passion and goal,” said Loat. “It is our responsibility to help those in need, and this is why the FFF team is challenging people across the UK to play football for food.”
“The sheer volume of people who are turning to foodbanks because they can’t afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep. Footy for Food is a brilliant initiative that has the potential to make a real impact at a time of great need,” says Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould.
In the past year, Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the largest ever increase in numbers turning to them for help; about 350,000 people. This amounts to 170 per cent more than what they have experienced in the previous year. As a result, three new foodbanks are currently opening every week to help meet the demand.
“The need for food banks has been rising exponentially. Coming back to the UK and being able to support a cause that’s close to home both literally and figuratively is incredibly important,” said Richard Loat, FFF Founder and CEO. “Every year, millions of Britons deal with hunger, year-round, no matter the season.”
Starting in 2014, the Footy For Food tour will travel through Northern Ireland's Belfast, then to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, and finally through Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, and London.